Classic Hummingbird Cake

IMG_8895 Side View Slice Out of Cake

Hummingbird Cake is a beautiful southern cake that first showed up in Southern Living Magazine‘s February 1978 edition. The author was Mrs. L. H. Wiggin and while there are no confirmed reports on why the cake was named as it was, it’s thought that the reference was quite sweet. Hummingbirds will select only the sweetest of nectar to drink and thus it follows that the Hummingbird cake is quite a sweet cake. It is so sweet, in fact, that the hummingbird cake is the most requested recipe in Southern Living‘s history!

IMG_8913 Piece in Foreground

Hummingbird cake is comprised of bananas, pineapple and pecans which results in quite a flavorful, sweet cake. With a slight crunch from the nuts and its traditional cream cheese frosting, this cake packs a flavor punch. The cake is lightly spiced with cinnamon. Sometimes this cake includes shredded coconut, but I chose not to use it in this recipe, since I want to stay true to the original flavors of a hummingbird cake.

IMG_8916 Top View Cake and Slice

This cake requires no more than simply whisking the dry ingredients, separately mixing the wet ingredients and combining the two, similar to the process of making carrot cake. There is no need for handheld or stand mixers. It comes together in a jiffy and is just one of the many reasons this cake is so loved by so many. 

IMG_8904 Slice on Plate

In my version of the hummingbird cake recipe, the sugar is reduced quite a bit, since the bananas and pineapples lend a fair amount of sweetness to the cake as well as the rich cream cheese frosting. I used crushed fresh pineapple (take fresh pineapple chunks and blitz in the food processor a few times until it becomes the consistency of crushed pineapple) in my recipe, since I happened to have a pineapple waiting to be used. Canned pineapple is a convenient option, as well.

IMG_8873 Slice Standing Foreground

Make sure to use overripe bananas – the kind that look brown and splotchy, way past their prime. These bananas hold the most sweetness and their texture is most ideal for baking.

IMG_8878 Cake & Slice Vertical

This cake is such a balanced pairing of bananas and pineapple. They really do compliment each other so well. These flavors along with the crunch from the pecans and the richness of the cream cheese frosting have made this Hummingbird Cake a classic favorite.

IMG_8851 Abstract View Cake

Classic Hummingbird Cake

Recipe by: Leelabean
(Yield: 3 8″ round cakes or about 30 cupcakes)
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t ground cinnamon
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c light brown sugar
3/4 c oil, Canola or vegetable
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 c mashed bananas
8 oz crushed pineapple, canned or fresh
1 c finely chopped pecans
2 t vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line your cake and/or cupcake tins and set them aside.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and whisk together.

In a separate bowl, combine the sugars and eggs and whisk together. Next, add the oil and whisk until uniform in consistency. Then whisk in the mashed bananas and crushed pineapples, followed by the vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients into the egg mixture and fold together. Then, toss the chopped pecans with 1 T flour to lightly coat and then fold the pecans into the batter. Do not over mix.

Divide the batter into your prepared pans and bake as directed below:

8″ cake: 24-28 minutes
cupcakes: 18-20 minutes

or until a toothpick inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean. Let your cakes cool on your counter and then frost as desired.

IMG_8835 Baked Cakes

Here, I use my Velvety Smooth Cream Cheese Frosting to provide the perfect accompaniment to this satisfyingly sweet cake.

IMG_8852 Whole Cake

Sweetly ♥ Yours,



  1. Joyce Deveau says:

    Can I freeze hummingbird cake with cream cheese icing?

    • Leelabean says:

      Hi Joyce!
      You can absolutely freeze the hummingbird cake (tightly wrapped in saran wrap and then placed in an airtight bag). However, I do not think you should freeze the cake with the cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese tends to do funky things when frozen and then thawed (texturally)…
      Happy Baking!

  2. Christina says:

    Hi Leelabean!

    I’ve been wanting to try a recipe on your blog and decided this is going to be my first! Since I’m really new to baking though I’m curious:

    If I only have one 9″ circular cake pan, can the batter be saved in the fridge in between baking sessions, or should I really try to bake all three layers at the same time?

    Also, how far in advance can this cake be made before serving? If I bake the cake layers the night before, can they be stored overnight if I make the frosting and frost the cake the next day just before serving? Or should I make and store the whole cake overnight?

    Thank you so much for sharing all of these recipes. I love your blog!

    • Leelabean says:

      Hi Christina!!
      I am so excited that you are going to try one of my very favorite recipes – this hummingbird cake!!
      Ok, so on to the tips – I understand you having only one cake pan available at a time, but so long as you promise to bake them off one after the other without actually storing the cake batter, then you can do this. I must admit that I, at times, have done this and it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference as long as you work quickly and keep the batter at room temperature (do NOT refrigerate it). Make sure you leave time (at least 10 minutes) for the baked cake to cool in the pan before turning it out, reapplying a sheet of parchment, and adding your next batch of batter to the pan. Also, once you are ready for the next batch, very gently fold the batter (do not mix) to reincorporate the ingredients that may have sunken to the bottom of the cake batter while sitting.
      As for frosting, I like to bake my cakes one day, let them cool entirely, wrap them thoroughly in plastic wrap and refrigerate them (you can freeze them if you are holding them for more than a day before frosting). The day you are ready to frost, take the cakes out a few hours prior, let them come to room temperature (leave them wrapped in the plastic wrap) and frost to your heart’s content.
      Doing it this way breaks up the work load, which can be quite a gift for us mommies….! 🙂
      Can’t wait to see how it turns out.. good luck and have fun!

  3. Lilou says:

    I loved your carrot cake, the best i have ever tried, so tasty with all the spices and so moist. I just used a different frosting and added baking powder. I live in France, where carrot cakes don’t exist.. Well, my family and friends all loved it and were really surprised when I said it was made with carrots.

    Now, I have a bunch of bananas and I’d like to try this hummingbird cake. Though, I’m not fond of pineapple and don’t have any anyway. Do you think I could just use more bananas instead ?

    Thank you so much for these wonderful recipes.

    • Leelabean says:

      Thank you much for those sweet words! I am so glad you love these recipes as much as I do!
      As for the pineapple replacement.. I would probably only increase the bananas to 2 cups as sometimes too much banana in a cake lends to a gummy result. I would also maybe add 1/2 c applesauce or pureed pumpkin for added moisture. Hope this helps! I would love to hear how your adjustments turn out!
      I know you said you didn’t care for pineapples, but I really urge you to try this cake. The pineapple is primarily there for moisture over flavor.. good luck and happy baking!!

  4. Humi says:

    So beautiful. I am a first timer at your side. can’t seem to help myself from commenting.

  5. Tamila says:

    As usual … beautiful and classy!

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